Culture

Poetry Corner: Gil Scott Heron

Bernie Bell:  “Looking at Trump and May, I’m reminded of Reagan and Thatcher. And I’m reminded of this song by Gil Scott Heron, from 1984. The situation is un-cannily similar. On, no, we don’t  need no re-Ron. But, it’s worth remembering that there have been better times in between.”

You can catch it on YouTube Gil Scott Heron-Re Ron


“Ah yes, they’re off and running again. The campaign trail. And doesn’t he look like himself? Back in the saddle again
Roy Rogers and Buck Rogers, Rutherford B. Hayes and Gabby Hayes, Marlon Perkins and Carl Perkins
In the dead of night we’ve seen it all: Boy George in drag? Or was Maggie Thatcher RayGun in drag?
Maggie and Jiggs, what a gig they got. That’s the big problem
It’s a Re-Ron, it’s like Geritol. It’s Jerry Mahoney and off the bleepin’ wall.
He’s terrorized and jeopardized and severed ties and sent our spies to plant them mines and promoted lies, all for the bottom line
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We don’t need no Re-Ron you know
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We’ve seen all the Re-Rons before

Yes but there he is. Running again. Re-running. Re-ronning. it’s a Re-Ron
A Re-Ron as predicted before the world-wide threat was inflicted
All those recent damages, all those recent nerve changes. Re-freezing the Cold War and lighting a fire under the hot one
Banging on the war drums. We’re listening to the rhythm-ah, rhythm-ah, rhythm-ah. Come for me
It’s a Re-Ron, Milton Berle. It’s the Duke of Wayne and the Duke of Earl
Orson Welles doing War of the Worlds
It’s the Hardy Boys and Georgy Girl
It’s a Re-Ron, a corruption piece
With Raymond Donovan and Edwin Meese
It’s a Re-Ron, it’s the Latin Plan. Here’s our star – Nacho Man!
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We don’t need no Re-Ron, you know
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We’ve seen all the Re-Rons before

It’s beyond reel-to-reel and Shogun to RayGun. And no-one has been psyched by the cosmetic set changes and the minimal shuffling of the deck of the cast of characters
Attila the Haig transformed into Peanuts – called Schultz up on Capitol Hill. A dead ringer for the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, and we keep expecting to hear him say: “We’re off to see the Arabs. Off to see the Arabs. Off to see the Arabs.” Or just off and up the yellow brick road
Another war drummer from the Cap Weinberger school of arms-pushing overkill and the Henry Kissinger Peace Academy
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We don’t need no Re-Ron, you know
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We’ve seen all the Re-Rons before

And through it all we closed our eyes, didn’t we, at 33 and 1/3. Going down for the third time under the 3rd degree. Watching a third of all our fellow Americans breaking their backs for third-class citizenship. Taking home a third less on payday because of wild inflation, while thirty years after segregation was tried and banished from the nation, here it comes again: Discrimination!
And the world watching our reaction to the 3rd World because the stakes are the Third World War
It’s the neutron bomb for Lebanon
He’s the gladiator invader of Grenada!
It’s millions more for El Salvador
and he’s up to his ‘keisters’ with the Sandinistas!
Would we take Fritz without Grits?
We’d take Fritz the Cat
Would we take Jesse Jackson?
Hell, we’d take Michael Jackson!
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We don’t need no Re-Ron, you know
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We’ve seen all the Re-Rons before

A Re-Ron, the late late show
A black-and-white flick from ages ago
A Re-Ron, the late late show
Ain’t we seen this film somewhere before?

A Re-Ron, the late late show
A black-and-white flick from ages ago
A Re-Ron, the late late show
Ain’t we seen this film somewhere before?

We don’t need no Re-Ron
We don’t need no Re-Ron, you know
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We’ve seen all the Re-Rons before

And then there’s the matter of stage presence. My doesn’t he look like himself? A Re-Ron, doesn’t he look like himself? The face never changes, nor political stance. He’s constantly smiling, a Greek comedy mask. So cool – roll the camera, the hair’s in place. The same old tales with the same clichés
It’s a Re-Ron, a time machine, stuck in reverse and filming what he sees. Twenty years gone with the point of a gun. To hell with reality – places everyone!
It’s a Re-Ron, the late late show. Starring Curly the RayGun, Larry and Moe
It’s a Re-Ron, nostalgia gets torn. Mom and apple pie and “no place like home”. Leave It To Beaver and The Twilight Zone. Can’t you face it goddamnit – yesterday’s gone
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We don’t need no Re-Ron, you know
We don’t need no Re-Ron
We’ve seen all the Re-Rons before

It’s a rerun, déjà vu. There’s War Games like Captain Kangaroo. No matter the scenery, no matter the score. Dropping out was copping out, we heard it before
A Re-Ron, the late late show
A black-and-white flick from ages ago
A migraine headache that you had before like a Saturday morning cartoon show

It’s a Re-Ron, the late late show
A black-and-white flick from ages ago
A Re-Ron, the late late show
Cinematic garbaggio

A Re-Ron, the late late show
A black-and-white flick from ages ago
A Re-Ron, the late late show
Hey baby, ain’t we seen this somewhere before?

A Re-Ron, the Late Late Show
I swear I seen this somewhere before

A Re-Ron, a Re-Ron, A Re-Ron
Noooooo Re-Ron, Noooooo Re-Ron”

Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron by Roberlan Borges

Gil Scott Heron (1949 – 2011)

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